Matthew 13:33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Anyone who thinks small plants are unremarkable, have never seen them break through hard asphalt. (Unknown)
Jesus regularly used pictures like the Rabbis of his day, as a way to help young and old alike better understand deeper spiritual matters. The picture of mixing dough is something that his listeners could easily relate to, since often they had seen their mother or other woman mixing it together with flour. Jesus states that this unremarkable activity is a picture of the kingdom of God.
In many ways, yeast is so unremarkably common, but as time progresses it will slowly cause something substantial to grow that in the end provides life giving nourishment.
The concept of something unremarkable or common as a small plant or a mustard seed growing into something substantial is repeated throughout the scriptures. These pictures are very important for those who have been called out of darkness to be workers in the Kingdom. We see, time and time again, how God begins to work through unremarkable small beginnings.
David Wilkerson, a 28 year old, with little pastoral experience went to New York City in 1958 to reach the gangs of that city with the Gospel. At the beginning, there was little success noticed outwardly, but as time progressed Teen Challenge was established. Today, Teen Challenge reaches out to drug addicts and others with life controlling challenges throughout 1100 centers in 110 countries of the world.
Anjezë (Agnes) Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia, which at that time was a part of the Ottoman Empire. At the young age of 18 she persuaded her parents to allow her to join the Irish Loreto Sisters in India. Many of us have heard this unbelievable story about an unremarkable, small in stature, woman called Mother Teresa who in 1948 initiated a mission of compassion to the poorest of the poor who most people choose to ignore. Today, 20 years after her death in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity with 5,000 workers minister to the poor, sick and elderly in 130 countries of the world.
As a church planter, I can look back over the years. Many of our first gatherings in various cities were scarcely attended and one wondered if a church would be established. I will never forget one of our first Bible Studies in Saarbrücken where no one showed up except my own family. My son Michael was four at the time and started crying, he asked; “Dad, will anyone ever come to our church?” Things did not move fast, but slowly over time something did grow and a church was established which continues today to be a blessing to many in the capital city of the Saarland.
It is important to understand the kingdom of God is like yeast, which exerts its’ influence from within, not from without. The gospel touches the lives of individual men and women and they in turn will be used to bring other in their culture to Christ. The nature of yeast is to grow and to change whatever it contacts. When we accept Christ, His grace grows in our hearts and changes us from the inside out.
Do not be discouraged when you do not see right away the fruits of your labors in the Kingdom. Trust God that something is growing like the yeast as mentioned in the parable.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)